They will look to the leadership for answers. The articulation of a formal case for change and the creation of a written vision statement are invaluable opportunities to create or compel leadership team alignment" (Jones et. all, 2004).
Furthermore, there are three steps that must be followed in order to be successful with applying this principle:
Confronting reality and articulating the need for change, in order to convince each individual that change is necessary and that it will attract positive aspects for the organization and its employees
Demonstrating the belief that the company has a viable future and the leadership to get there, so that it accentuates the need for the specific changes in case, on the one hand, and to boost employees' morale through the change management process, on the other hand
Providing a map to guide behavior and decision making, because these changes must be kept under control at all times, in order to implement a successful change management program
The above mentioned steps must take the form of a unitary message. This message must be carried by the organization's leaders. However, even if the general idea of the message must be a unitary one, the form of the message must be adapted by each leader for each division it is addressed to, in order to be clearly understood and to avoid any misunderstandings that might sabotage the success of the change management program.
Regarding the principle of creating ownership, "leaders of large change programs must overperform during the transformation and be the zealots who create a critical mass among the workforce in favor of change. This requires more than mere buy-in or passive agreement that the direction of change is acceptable. It demands ownership by leaders willing to accept responsibility for making change happen in all of the areas they influence or control" (Jones et. all, 2004).
Change Management Benefits
Although dealing with change management can be a very difficult process, the benefits that derive from this process make worth the trouble. For example, it has been proven that change management helps diminishing risks that are usually associated with change, eliminating resource conflicts and redundancies, and reducing costs.
Also, there are several strategic benefits involved. For example, the change management process can help to determine the real impact that change would have on the organization as a whole and on each of its divisions. Furthermore, this would help the organization's managers to make contingency plans that would be based on verified information (Koch, 2007).
In addition to this, change management can also determine increased internal teamwork and external customer satisfaction. Given the fact that change management is time consuming and that it also involves key employees in the process, it should only be performed under strict conditions, when change is absolutely necessary. Therefore, any change request proposal must follow certain aspects:
It must present the risk level that is associated with the change in cause, so that the organization's leaders take the suitable decision
The change in case must be presented in detail, and so should be the tests associated with it
The change request should also provide a second plan and reversing course in case the process does not go according to plan
All the prerequisites and other inherent changes must be clearly presented
Technical information must also be provided in detail
As mentioned above, change management is quite a difficult process to deal with, especially where large organizations are concerned, and success is not guaranteed. One cannot generalize and determine theoretical key aspects that would ensure success in all the cases in which change management is applied. It all depends on the industry in which the organization activates, the market, the size of the organization, and corporate culture. There are other significant factors involved.
However, there are certain aspects that must be taken into consideration in order to ensure the best outcomes from such a process. For example, the organization in case must be characterized by a culture that acknowledges the need to change and adapt and that is also able to commit to the entire process of change management, even when things do not seem that they are heading for the established direction. This is where top management becomes very important. Employees must be guided and supported by the organization's leaders, which must establish an example that their subordinated can follow.
But not only internal actors must be supported. External players, like suppliers or customers must also be guided through this process, as they are also affected. They should also be involved in the change management process. In such cases, communication is very important.
As mentioned above, the change management process can turn out to be a very difficult one, but it can also become extremely beneficial for any organization that applies. However, change management should only be applied in cases where it is absolutely necessary. Also, the process should follow a very well established plan.
Nickols, Fred (2006). Change management 101: A Primer. Retrieved July 9, 2008 at http://home.att.net/~nickols/change.htm.
Change management (2008). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved July 9, 2008 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Change_management_%28people%29.
Jones, J. et. all (2004). 10 Principles of Change Management. Strategy & Business Magazine online. Retrieved July 9, 2008 at http://www.strategy-business.com/resilience/rr00006.
Koch, Geoff (2007). ABC: An Introduction to Change Management. CIO Magazine online. Retrieved July 9, 2008 at http://www.cio.com/article/102902/ABC_An_Introduction_to_Change_Management/1.